Contemporary Fiction Author, Infrequent Blogger & Retired Clown

Inspiration thy name is “Sports Night”


When it comes to writing, you can get inspiration from just about anywhere. I have a number of writing idols, many of whom are novelists like Carl Hiaasen, Joshilyn Jackson and Chris Bohjalian. But I also take inspiration from other types of writers who excel in their own arenas–in particular, I’m talking about the man, the myth, the legend–Mr. Aaron Sorkin.

Prior to his acclaimed television success with West Wing, Sorkin got his start in TV with a little show called Sports Night. While almost everything Sorkin writes is gold (see: A Few Good Men, The American President, and The Social Network) in my eyes, nothing compares to the wit, humor and impeccable dialogue of Sports Night.

Once a year, I re-watch the entire show (it only ran for two seasons) from start to finish. It’s a testament to what a great show it is that even though I’ve probably watched it in its entirety six or seven times at this point, I love it just as much with every re-watching.

The best part (and the trademark of Aaron Sorkin, of course) is the quick-paced dialogue. Any time you find yourself struggling with character dialogue, you can rely on Sorkin to give you a dose of intellectual wit wrapped in a conversational vernacular that makes it seem authentic.

Just in case you don’t want to take my word for it, I’ve put together some of my favorite Sports Night gems for you to enjoy. If you’re interested, you should also check out the show, which was recently added to Netflix.

Get your inspiration where you can! And also, keep your ear to the ground over Duolit, something’s coming up that’s going to be really big!

Later days,
– Shannon


Dan: I gotta tell you, at this point the length of this conversation is way out of proportion to my interest in it.

Casey: How am I conversationally anal retentive?
Dana: Let me answer that question in four parts, with the fourth part first and the third part last. The second part has five sub-sections…
Casey: All right, all right…

Sam: You shouldn’t think that just because I’m looking at you while you’re talking to me, that I’m necessarily listening to or caring about what you’re saying. It’s just something I do to be polite.

Casey: There is a perception in the press, never more clear than in this article, that I’m not cool. Now where do you suppose that perception comes from?
Dana: I think it comes from reality.

Isaac: Dan, Casey, Dana, Jeremy, Natalie–in the conference room right now!
Casey: What’s going on?
Isaac: In there. Sally, why don’t you join us as well?
Sally: What are we doing?
Isaac: We’re having a little meeting.
Sally: Is this what I think it is?
Isaac: Probably not.

Casey: I’m just sayin’ that it’s hard not to notice that the woman’s body was put together by a technichian very close to God.
Dana: A technician close to God?
Casey: Not God himself, but certainly a high level staff person. A senior VP.

Dana: How much do you love me?
Dan: I want to grow a goatee.
Dana: Very, very bad idea. How much do you love me?
Dan: I think it would look good.
Dana: I think you would look like Colonel Sanders. How much do you love me?
Dan: A little less than I did before the Colonel Sanders thing.

Dana: You have good ideas a lot. I find myself saying, “Natalie’s got a good idea.”
Natalie: But you also find yourself saying, “Natalie, if you screw that up again I’ll set you on fire.”

Dan: Elliot wants to know why there’s a twenty-pound frozen turkey in the light grid.
Dana: It’s twenty-four pounds.
Dan: I’ll them him that, but then he’ll probably wanna know why there’s a twenty-four-pound frozen turkey in the light grid.

Dana: By the way, in the memos that are circulating, we’re spelling Chattanooga about fourteen different ways. Now what do we know?
Jeremy: Two Os, three As.
Dana: That’s it?
Jeremy: No, there are other letters, too.

Dan: Eleven years ago, he pitched a perfect game.
Rebecca: A perfect game.
Dan: Yes, ma’am.
Rebecca: And a perfect game is good?
Dan: Listen, I know there’s a lot of jargon, but some of these are pretty self-explanatory.

Dana: People in graphics are my friends.
Natalie: That’s not quite right.
Dana: I am so nice to them!
Natalie: That’s one way of looking at it.
Dana: What’s another way?
Natalie: That often times you express your displeasure with their work in ways that make them want to take their own lives.

Dan: Maybe he’s just busy.
Natalie: Yeah.
Casey: Maybe he met another woman and he forgot all about you.
Natalie: Maybe I’ll jam a number two pencil up your nose.
Casey: Maybe he’s just busy.
Natalie: Maybe that’s right.

Dana: My brother can beat up your brother.
Natalie: My brother is a grad student in comparative literature. My mother can beat up my brother.

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